EXCITE Transforming Public Libraries

Hartford, CT-Connecticut State Library in partnership with Innovation Builders, “EXCITE Transformation for Libraries” grant project, culminated in a project pitch session similar to the television show “Shark Tank” where EXCITE library teams made their project pitch for seed grants to implement innovative and creative library programs. Teams from the State Library of North Carolina; Charles County Public Library, Maryland; Ossining Library, New York; Springfield City Library, Massachusetts; Hall Memorial Library, Ellington, Connecticut; Burritt Library, Central CT State University vied for grants of up to $3000 each.

Projects ranged from Charles County’s Drop the Mic Recording Studio for Young Adults, to Ossining Library’s Parent Connections connecting parents with their children, themselves and their community. Each team concept was created with the collaborative input of their respective communities resulting in customer driven projects.

Dawn La Valle, Director, Division of Library Development, Connecticut State Library said, “EXCITE Transformation for Libraries is a unique, intensive team-based experiential learning program that teaches collaboration and innovation skills, resulting in programs and services that respond to community input and demonstrated needs, lead to cultural change at libraries, and sustain project impact through extended training. This IMLS grant funded project was developed in response to ALA’s Libraries Transform campaign, recognizing that librarians require non-traditional skills sets to lead innovation at their libraries. For more information: https://libguides.ctstatelibrary.org/.”

EXCITE panel innovators representing libraries, higher education, and business entrepreneurs, evaluated and scored presentations, ultimately awarding $3,000 grants to each of the six teams.

Peggy Cadigan, Deputy State Librarian for Innovation and Outreach, New Jersey State Library, said “I recently participated as a judge for the current cohort of Connecticut State Library’s EXCITE Transformation for Libraries project.  What an incredible opportunity.  The projects devised by the teams were solid, but the process used to design the projects and create team synergy was what really impressed me.  Each project involved interviews with community members and continuous iteration based on feedback from stakeholders.  The team did not enter this program with a project in mind – they came into it as a disparate group of people, but developed the tools to learn how to collaborate, innovate and trust.  This is the best team-building program I have ever seen.”